I never fail to be horrified at how horrendously badly this Government (and others before it to be fair) treats those who work for it. We see repressive and toxic management cultures in many Government Departments which stifle innovation and create environments where bullying flourishes.
The Armed Forces, though, seem to come off particularly badly. Successive Governments abuse the willingness of men and women to make huge sacrifices for our country by failing to look after them properly. They send people to serve in war zones without the proper equipment, knowing that their families are struggling in substandard military housing. They even try to do them out of leave days by counting the time they spend travelling back from places like Iraq and Afghanistan as leave, giving them less time to spend with their families. When I was in the Civil Service, if I spent an hour and a half travelling to Birmingham for a course, then I got that time back and I can't imagine it's changed for the office based staff now.
So, that's bad enough. But today we have plain wicked. How dare the Government spend our taxes appealing the relatively modest increases in compensation awards for two injured servicemen. This is every bit as bad as denying the Gurkhas the right to live here.
Basically what the Government is saying that if you are injured in the line of duty, you only get compensated for the injury and not any other complications that injury caused. That makes no sense whatsoever. I presume that means that if you, say, break your hip and for some reason that leads to a blood clot which causes permanent brain damage, then you'd only be compensated for the original fracture, even if you needed lifelong care.
Isn't it time the Government focused its energies on improving conditions for the forces instead of screwing our brave men and women out of every last penny they can? I object to my taxes, probably far in excess of the increased awards, being paid to treat people in this way.
Bob Ainsworth, the defence minister, a supposed champion of the forces, should hang his head in shame. He could stop this, but I'm not holding my breath.